The other night, I mentioned to my wife that I’m thinking about not watching the Super Bowl.
“Oh, stop it.” She said. “You know you’re going to watch.”
That got me to thinking. Isn’t that the problem? This season alone, we’ve had a player nearly kill his fianceé on camera, an apparent cover-up of said domestic abuse that could extend all the way up to our legal system, another player beat his son to the point of bleeding, continued reports that playing this sport shortens life-spans, a potential champion caught cheating and countless other reasons to stop watching.
Only, we refuse to stop watching. Mentioning that I’m considering skipping this game makes me crazy. Hell, we even saw women donning Ray Rice jerseys trying to explain that Janay Rice somehow deserved her beating because of fandom.
Watch a Roger Goodell press conference. He’s laughing at all of us. To hell with our logical complaints and journalistic integrity that question his dictatorship. The league is making billions of dollars and it doesn’t matter at all that it does so by trampling anyone that gets in its way — including former players who had the indecency to die as a result of the persistent brain trauma that occurs in the course of a career using their head as a weapon.
We know about Rice. We think we know what happened behind the scenes. We’re pretty sure the investigation was a farce headed by someone paid by the NFL. When Rachel Nichols had the audacity to ask about the conflicts (yes, plural) of interest that the league continues to create, Goodell asked if she’d like to pay Robert Mueller. Hey, Rog, try GoFundMe.com.
Robert Kraft recently got ahead of a potential media storm by demanding an apology from Goodell and the NFL for learning of his franchise’s repeated cheating scandals. Now there’s good public relations.
Several journalists have connected Kraft to Goodell’s initial hiring. So, wait, Goodell is somehow supposed to treat owners fairly when some played crucial roles in him attaining a $44 million job? Think of your greatest professional mentor. The person most directly responsible for any success you’ve enjoyed. Could you punish them without bias?
He had no problem suspending the New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton an entire year for the bounty scandal (charges that were eventually dropped, for lack of evidence), altogether wrecking the franchise. The Saints have yet to recover, and yet, I haven’t heard any apology.
Goodell’s thinking with that punishment was that, although Payton was never directly tied to the scandal, he should’ve known what transpired in his locker room. Bad apples must be accounted for and, because they weren’t, Payton must be held responsible. In this outrageously stupid “Deflategate,” Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and Kraft aren’t being held to the same standards. If Goodell was interested in consistency, he’d suspend Belichick and/or Brady for Sunday’s game for lack of accountability. That won’t happen, though. That would jeopardize the integrity of the game.
Most are quick to point out that violence and football PSIs are in no way on the same level, which is a fair point to make. Violence on or off the field cannot, nor should not be tolerated and anyone found in any shape or form who could halt said violence but failed to do so should be held similarly accountable.
You know, just like how Roger Goodell pleaded that he had no idea that the second video – the one that showed Rice throwing a punch the creators of “The Matrix” would be proud of – existed. We all saw the first one, though, and we all knew what the second might show. We should’ve known better, starting with Goodell, who thought Rice’s transgressions deserved a two-game suspension and tried to make up for that mistake with a blatant example of double jeopardy.
The NFL can get away with all this because we just can’t stay away. Oh, you’re worried about concussions with developing brains? “Friday Night Tykes” airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. CT on Esquire. You’re sick of hypocrisies and double standards? Josh Gordon could be suspended for next season for alcohol use, but here’s a catchy Budweiser commercial.
You’re thinking about boycotting Sunday? Good joke.
Anthony F. Irwin is an NBA, NFL, MLB and NCAA Football contributor for Rantsports.com. Follow him on Twitter, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. Send him an email at Anthony.F.Irwin@gmail.com.